VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Vatican prosecutors on Monday provisionally released Gianluigi Torzi, an Italian middleman in a controversial deal in which the Vatican used Church money to purchase a luxury building in London as an investment.
A statement from the Vatican press office said Torzi, who was arrested in the Vatican on June 5, was granted provisional liberty after he cooperated with prosecutors. He was the first person arrested in the case, which came to light nine months ago.[nL8N2DI5GD]
The statement said Torzi had given investigators a long, detailed reconstruction of his version of events as well as many documents.
Vatican investigators have accused Torzi of extortion, embezzlement, aggravated fraud and money laundering. They will now have to decide whether they have sufficient evidence to ask a judge to order a trial.
Torzi was the Vatican’s fiduciary for the deal, in which the Vatican’s Secretariat of State purchased a building in London’s posh Chelsea district several years ago for $200 million.
The investigation into alleged irregularities led to the suspension last year of five Vatican employees, the resignation of the Vatican’s police chief and the departure of the former head of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF).
Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Gareth Jones